What is a great second career

Great career. It doesn't always have to be the calling!

“From job to calling. How to get a great job and personal fulfillment. ”This is the title of a book I stumbled upon while researching the other day. Sounds exciting, was my first impulse. Who does not want that?! So I bought the 2011 book by the American bestselling author Stephen R. Covey - of course for purely professional reasons as a career coach ;-) I have already read some of these American "guides", fully stocked with the American dream, million-strong former dishwashers and a 4-hour week and money till you drop.

Between frustration and horror

I love my job as a coach and I am very happy and satisfied with it. However, the author of this book managed to make me feel bad for a moment while reading and had the feeling that I actually had to strive for a great career. At some point I stopped counting how often people talked about the “great career” - to a feeling of extreme numbness and aversion to this expression. Questions came to my mind like “Where do I stand in my great career?” Or “Shouldn't I be much further along?” These are certainly questions that are worth thinking about. However, the vehemence with which the author postulates a great career for everyone, without which we can never be happy, frightened me. Every day I see people who sometimes show symptoms of depression as a result of their life or work situation and I cannot imagine how this book affects people who are looking for help and advice.

What makes a career great?

Yes, everyone strives for self-fulfillment and yes, we are generally happy about the next step in our career, more salary or the company car. Yes, we look for recognition in our job and are happy when we can happily go to work because we enjoy the activities or we see a purpose in our work. But: does it have to be a great career? What does great actually mean? What makes a great career?

The basic message of the book is that for your great career you need to find two answers: What makes you unique? and: Which employer has exactly the problem that you can solve with your skills? Basically, there is a good approach behind it. In coaching I work very intensively with my clients on their skills, resources and potential. To become (again) aware of your strengths and to focus on what has already worked well in life is useful and often the decisive step on the way to a solution. The second question is also justified. The labor market is also a market where supply and demand meet. To be aware of the benefits you can bring to a company as an applicant and to develop specific ideas about which problems in the company you can contribute to a solution, is not just a good ticket, but a yardstick for rewarding work performance.

What bothers me, however, is that the reader is suggested that he must strive for the highest, THE great career. How does this quote, which is the finale of the book, affect you? “Only a meaningful life can be a great life. And a meaningful life is hardly possible without meaningful work. "(Jim Collins)

Career and calling are not everything in life

Many people are finally looking for a new job after a long period of unemployment or would like to change a job after 20 years because they are now dissatisfied with what they are doing - for whatever reason. Many people are also satisfied with their "job", earn the money they need for their standard of living and seek fulfillment outside of their job. Finding one's “calling” can be a goal, but it also means enormous pressure for many seekers. Higher, faster, further - a typical phenomenon of today's industrialized knowledge society. When I say with my motto “Everyone has the tools to do what makes them happy”, then I don't always automatically mean a great career. Anyone who decides to pursue a nine-to-five job as a civil servant for life and is happy with it is not a career refuser, as the new Spiegel magazine "Job" has just called it, but rather satisfied with what he / she is does because it fits the individual life model and one's own values ​​in life and work.

It is time that we no longer have to justify and compare ourselves because of our profession. Whether the business card says “Vice President” or “Ready to drive” does not depend on how happy and satisfied someone is in their job and life. Anyone who does an excellent job as a driver deserves the same appreciation as a board member who exceeds the return on investment of his shareholders every year. Whoever decides to pursue a great career can work on it. The book by Covey provides valuable impetus for this. But work doesn't always have to be meaningful to have a meaningful life. Decide what is meaningful and valuable to you in life and at work and try to find a way to achieve these goals that are important to you.

Dr. Bernd Slaghuis

I work as a career and business coach in Cologne and have specialized in topics related to career planning and professional reorientation. I work with applicants on their application strategy, the optimization of their documents and the preparation for interviews. I support managers in finding a healthy attitude. I am a SPIEGEL columnist, XING Insider (honored as "XING Top-Mind") and co-author of the book "Better Work".

  1. Thanks for your contribution! For many people, a good job is the most important thing in life and I can understand it well. But I believe that “the good work” doesn't necessarily have to be the work that brings in millions. Everyone should decide for themselves what is "significant" for them.

  2. A nice contribution, in the sense of which unfortunately far too few courageous people have decided to listen to their actual talents and strengths. Career is not a linear striving for more and more responsibility or salary, but a reflection of yourself. The often negative portrayal of Generation Y or the change in values ​​that is currently taking place is completely incomprehensible to me. If you like, you can find nice examples at http://www.unternehmertv.de! :)

  3. I also read the book, but it didn't strike me as negative. After all, the style is known from the American Tschakka niche. Still, I've pulled out a few nice suggestions for myself, albeit not as much as from other books. “7 Ways” was still great, then it repeats itself.
    I find the vision of living my dream job or calling one day worth striving for and not bad at all. But you shouldn't allow yourself to be put under pressure and stay calmly in jobs that are just imperfect.
    In my experience, there are opportunities and opportunities when you know what to look for.
    I probably don't have to tell a coach, but if everyone knew what is really important to them, what corresponds to their values, then people could become happier. The temptations through consumption and advertising would then have less chance.
    Thanks for the article and best regards,
    David Goebel

  4. Yes I agree with you. Asking yourself whether your career is a calling, a passion, or a task doesn't really matter. You can feel most of the time that the job is the right one or not. I would like to grow or sell tomatoes and have found it satisfied and that may change over time.

    It is much more important to tackle your idea and be satisfied with the implementation.